EW Looks Back

Chart Flashback: 1989

The Berlin Wall crumbled, ''Seinfeld'' debuted, and on the pop charts? Cannibals, Marx-ists, and a not-yet-disgraced Milli Vanilli

1. Fine Young Cannibals, ''Good Thing''
If hearing the words ''good thing'' doesn't immediately make you respond with two handclaps and a ''doot doobie doot,'' you have no business reading this flashback. (Or, you're 20.) A

2. Milli Vanilli, ''Baby Don't Forget My Number''
A stoop-sale Casio and a Speak & Spell could produce higher-quality dance jams. But isn't it sweet to remember a time when two scampering Europeans in blazers and bike shorts could lip-synch their way to pop Xanadu? B-

3. Simply Red, ''If You Don't Know Me by Now''
Perhaps ill-advised to think that all Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes' 1972 soul classic needed were some very 1989 synths. Still, an unruinable song. B

4. Madonna, ''Express Yourself''
And when did she ever not? Long live Her Madgesty's screed against second-bests. A

5. Martika, ''Toy Soldiers''
Step by step, heart to heart — the best drum-machine melodrama from a former Kids Incorporated cast member ever (sorry, Fergie). A-

6. Cyndi Lauper, ''I Drove All Night''
Cyndi, she-bopping no more, is compelled by love's vision quest — also, possibly, insanely cheap gas prices. B+

7. Natalie Cole, ''Miss You Like Crazy''
The stuff of a thousand sobbing-in-your-stirrup-pants radio dedications. And it holds up, alas, about as well as those pants. C-

8. Richard Marx, ''Satisfied''
Richard was not just the sweet balladeer who was Right Here Waiting for You. He was also very proactive! Especially in his pursuit of satisfaction, and bitchin' guitar solos. B

9. Neneh Cherry, ''Buffalo Stance''
Truly an anomaly in '80s pop radio: a bomb-the-bass snapshot of London street life that sounded like lyrical Mad Libs to American ears (''crocodile feet''?) — and we loved it. A+

10. Exposé, ''What You Don't Know''
Boy, they are not messing; the R&B lady fierceness and serious saxophone say so. B+

Source: Joel Whitburn Presents The Billboard® Hot 100® Charts—The Eighties

Originally posted Jul 01, 2011 Published in issue #1162-1163 Order article reprints
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